Plymouth City Council has issued the following statement about problems with direct payments due to a national banking problem.
Plymouth City Council plans to sack nearly 200 staff and then take them back on under flexible hours contracts. Unions are balloting members over strike action and is considering legal action on behalf of some members.
The council says it needs to provide customer services outside normal office hours. 140 staff have accepted the new contracts which will require them to work some weekends and up to eight o'clock at night.
The council deputy leader, Cllr Pete Smith, has accused the unions of being inflexible. The unions, Unison, Unite and the GMB, say their members are prepared to be flexible, but the city council has rejected their proposals and negotiations have broken down for the first time in twenty years.
Plymouth City Council will begin an 18-month citywide street lighting replacement programme this week, as part of its energy and carbon saving measures.
The £8 million project, which will see nearly 29,000 street lights in the city replaced with energy efficient light emitting diode (LED) lamps, will see the Council’s energy bill reduced by over £1 million a year.
Streets in the north-west of the city will be the first to receive the new lights, which give a colour of light similar to that of moonlight. Installation will then continue in stages across the north of the city, working from west to east, before moving to the southern half of the city.
In most cases the LED units will be flatter and squarer than existing lamps but in areas with heritage lighting, care will be taken to use lamps that are similar in appearance to the existing ones.
Plymouth will be one of the first cities in the UK to replace all of its street lights with LED units, but it has been able to benefit from the experience of other councils such as Birmingham and Gateshead, which have installed them extensively.
Plymouth City Council is considering making around 300 job cuts as the authority sets a 3 year budget to try to save tens of millions of pounds.
It's one of the options revealed in papers to be discussed by the council's Cabinet - which on top of recent £30 million pounds of cuts, is now looking to make another sixty four and a half million pounds of savings.
Plymouth City Council is banning payday loan websites from advertising on billboards and bus shelters.
It's thought to be the first local authority to take the step to "protect residents from sky high interest rates that lead to spiralling debt".
Computer access to 50 of the most popular payday loan websites is also being blocked across the council's entire network, including in libraries and community centres.
Councillor Chris Penberthy, cabinet member for co-operatives and community development at Plymouth City Council, made the announcement on Monday.
The Public Accounts Committee estimates that 5000 people in Plymouth have payday loans.
Plymouth City Council are promoting their bid to be the UK's City of Culture for 2017 this week by taking a 'culture sofa' on a tour around the city to ask for people's opinions on the bid.
The council want residents to tell them why their city deserves the title.
A programme designed to encourage more people in Plymouth to start their own business has secured more than £1.5million in funding.
It means the free Urban Enterprise programme can now run for another two years, giving people practical advice on how to write business plans and pitch ideas and use marketing successfully.
The project has helped 158 new businesses get off the ground in the past three years.
Cllr Tudor Evans is Leader of Plymouth City Council:
How many of us would like to tell the council what we _really _think about how they're running our towns and cities? Well people in Plymouth are being given the chance to do exactly that.
The City Council admits it may, at times, make for uncomfortable listening but it says it wants to hear the true thoughts of the people of Plymouth.
Claire Manning has been to Whitleigh: